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This book shines a spotlight on two missing foci of authentic leadership research: international and follower perspectives. The concept of ‘authenticity’ has been in vogue since the times of Greek philosophy, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that leadership scholars seriously began to study the topic of authentic leadership. This new collection brings together empirical research and theoretical contributions to provide insights into the follower perspectives of authentic leadership around the world. Covering topics such as leader self-awareness, gender, psychological capital, embodied leadership and followership, and unethical conduct, the book features a Foreword written by William L. Gardner, one of the original scholars on authentic leadership.



Erratum to: Authentic Leadership and Followership: International Perspectives

Without Abstract
Dorianne Cotter-Lockard

International Perspectives


1. Leader Self-Awareness and Follower Psychological Empowerment Across Cultures

Leader self-awareness is one of four components theorized in the conceptualization of authentic leadership. This study begins investigation into individual components of authentic leadership, first, by examining measurement invariance for leader self-awareness across ten national cultures, and second, by examining its relationship with follower psychological empowerment. Evidence for metric invariance was supported, but scalar invariance was not found, suggesting that comparing correlations of leader self-awareness with empowerment is warranted, but comparing average mean levels across cultures is not an apples-to-apples comparison. A positive relationship between leader self-awareness and follower empowerment was significant at the individual and work unit levels, and there were significance differences in effect sizes for some countries compared to the United States.
Tara Wernsing

2. Follower Gender and Authentic Leadership: Perspectives from the Middle East

This study aims to explore how perceptions of male and female followers differ regarding their emphasis on different attributes of authentic leadership. The Middle East constitutes an interesting area to analyse gender-based perceptions due to relatively high gender inequality. Based on gender-identity theory, the authors argue that to acknowledge a leader as being authentic, women would value a leader’s interdependence while men prefer independence. Conducting 105 in-depth interviews in 10 Middle Eastern countries, this study examines the significance of followers’ gender in cognizance of authentic leadership. The findings show that although Middle Eastern men and women have many common convictions about authentic leaders, there are also significant differences in their expectations, notably, while men prefer authentic leaders to be autonomous, women expect them to show care and nurturance.
Gaye Karacay, Behice Ertenu, Hayat Kabasakal

3. Empathy as a Vehicle to Authentic Leadership and Followership in Latin America: A Practitioner Perspective

This chapter examines whether leaders in Latin America use empathy as a vehicle toward authentic leadership, whether empathy affects their followership and followership commitment, and the implications of national culture. The role of empathy is also explored regarding whether national culture influences the adoption of empathy, examining similarities and differences across Latin American country cultures. Initial findings suggest a relationship in which empathy emerges to serve as a vehicle for authentic leadership in Latin America. Leaders who adopt empathy as part of their leadership approach appear to favorably influence the bond between leader and follower, follower engagement and productivity, and follower commitment to the organization and leader. This chapter indicates that empathy results in a leadership advantage.
Patricia C. Bravo

4. The Role of Workplace Authentic Leadership on Followership Behaviour and Psychological Capital in a South African Context

This study provides information about authentic leadership, psychological capital, and followership behaviours, as well as their relationship with each other in the South African context. A quantitative, cross-sectional survey was designed for implementation via a composite electronic questionnaire. Data were gathered from a purposive sample of managers (N = 647) in a South African national healthcare organisation. The conclusion was drawn that the followership instrument had serious psychometric shortcomings. Authentic leadership and follower psychological capital were found to be related, indicating that leaders had an impact on the development of their followers’ hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. Cultural differences and traditional ways of thinking in the South African context were found to influence the popularity and experience of authentic leadership.
Marieta du Plessis, Adré B. Boshoff

5. A Model for Positive Leadership in Argentinean Firms

For two hundred years, Argentina has been entrapped in a vicious cycle of economic collapse and recovery that prevented Argentinean firms from achieving sustainable growth. To understand this vicious cycle in more detail, this chapter unpacks the peculiarities of Argentinean leadership, describing its toxic nature. As main thesis, the author elaborates on how the corporate Machiavellianism of certain key actors in the Argentine economic and political context facilitated the emergence of pseudo-authentic and pseudo-transformational leaders and their colluding followers. As antithesis, the author proposes a model of positive leadership, tailored to the Argentinean context. The model uses identification as a key mechanism that binds authentic leadership, organisational identity, and broader organisational constructs such as climate, culture, and justice, into three spheres of virtue.
Lucas Monzani

6. The Role of Sociocultural Context in the Leader–Follower Relationship: An Analysis of Lee Kuan Yew’s Authentic Transformational Leadership

Through a strong vision, authentic transformational leaders inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the group. While the characteristics underlying authentic transformational leadership have received attention, less emphasis has been placed on how and under what conditions transformational leadership achieves authenticity within the leader–follower relationship. Taking a case study approach, this chapter assesses Lee Kuan Yew’s leadership style, specifically his ‘Asian Values’ vision. By addressing the sociocultural contexts in which authentic transformational leadership occurs, we argue that Lee’s leadership style ultimately failed because his vision was incongruent with the ontologies and values of other societies in Asia, resulting in a message that appeared inauthentic. This chapter concludes with recommendations for making authentic transformational leadership more functional across different cultural contexts.
Deborah Pembleton, John Friend, Zhiyuan He

Conceptual Perspectives


7. The Transformational Influence of Authentic Leadership on Followers in Early Career Relationships

This chapter presents an interpretative study investigating how followers determine the authenticity of their leaders in the context of their formative managerial work relationships. The findings indicate that working for an authentic leader at an early career stage has a positive and enduring impact on followers’ own leadership identities and behavioural preferences throughout their ensuing employment. The study also identifies that, within these early career relationships, authentic leadership is perceived as a more flexible construct than is suggested by current theory. These formative perceptions are oriented more around the leader’s ethical, prosocial, and sometimes maverick behaviours, which have a life-enhancing impact on followers by legitimising their own subsequent self-expression and non-conformity at work.
Kim Bradley-Cole

8. Authentic Leadership, Embodied Leadership, and Followership from a Multi-cultural Perspective

This chapter uses a conceptual-theoretical framework to further knowledge about the effectiveness of various leadership and followership styles and the relationship between leadership, authentic leadership, embodied leadership, and followership after the technological revolution. Laban Movement Analysis, a nonverbal body–mind model, is applied to illustrate embodied leadership. The findings are that (1) leaders and followers are likely to be viewed as authentic when they synchronize their inner world (somatic sensations) with their outer expression (verbal language), (2) the country’s or region’s cultural climate impacts organisational culture and the structure of leader–follower interaction, and (3) the cultural climate can limit or prevent the adaptation of a minimal hierarchical (horizontal) structure.
Sharon Davis Brown

9. Authentic Leadership and Followers’ Cheating Behaviour: A Laboratory Experiment from a Self-Concept Maintenance Perspective

This chapter presents insights into the question whether followers’ perceptions of authentic leadership attenuate cheating. From the perspective of self-concept maintenance theory, followers will cheat so long as they can maintain a positive self-concept. We suggested that authentic leadership lowers the perceptual threshold under which followers can still consider themselves honest. A laboratory experiment combined video-based variations of authentic leadership with a cheating-of-mind experiment. We collected data from 343 students at a German university. Results indicate that participants cheated, but not to the fullest extent possible. Authentic leadership did not affect the extent to which participants cheated. These results held when moderating variables were tested (e.g., cheating norm, victimization). Hence, the findings do not support the notion that a short-term authentic leadership intervention attenuates cheating.
Susanne Braun, Lars Hornuf

10. Authentic Leadership and Authenticity: An Existential Perspective

The purpose of this chapter is, firstly, to assess the similarities between the traits of authenticity and authentic leadership, as viewed by researchers using two different perspectives historically used to define authenticity: the existential perspective and the psychological perspective. Secondly, using a correlational design, the chapter goes through an exploration of the relationship between authenticity and authentic leadership in a French-Canadian population using a quantitative approach. This chapter thus provides a relevant exploration of the evolution of the concept of authentic leadership and various observations of its impact on followers, integrating the existential perspective to respond to continuing concerns regarding coherence between authentic leadership and the concept from which it is derived, namely authenticity.
Cloé Fortin, Louis Baron, Cécile Renucci

11. Conceptualising Authentic Followers and Developing a Future Research Agenda

Authentic leadership theories tend to be leader-centric, and often ignore the importance and effect of followers. In this chapter, the role of authentic followers in the leader–follower relationship is considered in greater depth, providing an updated conceptualisation of the construct characterised by (i) a psychological capacity for authenticity and (ii) positive organisational engagement. We also distinguish between the passive and active authentic followers to enable a more precise categorisation of two similar, but distinct, individuals. This chapter then considers how authentic followers (a) interact with leaders, (b) can be leaders, and (c) interact in teams. The chapter concludes by outlining a future research trajectory that discusses empirical validation and measurement, along with the fluidity and emergence of authentic followers and leaders.
Joseph Crawford, Sarah Dawkins, Angela Martin, Gemma Lewis


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